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Grad Soccer Club Draws 2-2 Tie with Essex United

By Malcolm Quinn
and Josh Elliott
Team Members

The MIT graduate soccer club drew 22 on Saturday, playing away against Essex United.

A strong wind washed relentlessly down the field, making for an exhausting game for both sides. Though MIT played with the wind in the first half, they did not capitalize on this advantage as they should have, scoring only one goal.

MIT's first goal came from a splendidly worked and well-rehearsed move. With full knowledge of the Rich Stringfellow's G capabilities in taking long throw-ins, Grant Schaffner G found space behind the Essex defense. Schaffner dribbled the ball to the byline and swung in a low hard cross. The cross was expertly deflected into the net by Tony Diaz G with a deft touch.

In the second half, Essex, teaming with the imperturbable wind, dominated possession and exploited conditions much better than had MIT. Their tactic of keeping the ball in the air, and leaving the wind to do much of the work for them, paid dividends early.

A cross to the top of the MIT goalbox caught the defense in transition, and left an Essex striker unmarked. The striker took up the challenge and pounded home Essex's first goal with an authoritative header.

MIT was quick to respond. A breakaway down the field led to a goalmouth melee at the Essex end, as players from both teams scrambled for the ball. Somehow, it popped free, rolling to the MIT midfielder, who launched the ball at the Essex goal, leaving the goalie only able to watch as the ball hurtled past his head. Clanging off the goal post, it fell to veteran Diaz who notched up his second goal of the game, placing the ball past a still seemingly stunned Essex goalie.

Late in the game Essex knotted things up 22, another goal coming from their relentless wind-assisted bombardment of the MIT goalbox. Never gaining control of possession in the second half, MIT had to rely instead on breakaway opportunities, that started to come more frequently as both teams became tired. The most memorable of these came with only minutes remaining in the game, when Harry "the Hammer" Bingham G made a surging left wing run to the Essex goaline.

A weary Essex defense struggled to recover, but before they could, Bingham, working magic on the goal line had bulleted a low scorching cross on to the head of striker Grant Shaffner G.

Sadly for MIT, it ricocheted straight into the hands of the Essex keeper, who had no time to react and was fortunate not to be retrieving the ball from the back of the net. Essex supporters let out a collective sigh of relief on the sideline.

When the final whistle blew, the general consensus of opinion was that the match had been a good one.